Music Stopped my Tears

Jessica - Hot Springs, Arkansas
Entered on October 14, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Music Stopped My Tears!

Did you know that making music can give you confidence? When I was younger, I was very unsure of myself. I hated being called on in class, giving presentations and being with big groups of people. It became a huge problem when I moved from St. Lukes, a small church school, to Lakeside, a large co-educational public school. The classes were much bigger, I didn’t know anyone, and I felt like a very small fish in a very large pond. I would cry in class if the attention were focused on me. I was very quiet and timid. I wouldn’t answer a question unless I was specifically called on, even if I knew the answer. I did this all the way up to sixth grade.

When I started sixth grade I entered a new phase of my life. This was the year that changed me for the better. I came home one day and told Nana and Grumps, “I want to be in the band.” They didn’t think I would be serious about it. Nana was very concerned about the practice and commitment and tried very hard to talk me out of it. However, I wanted to play clarinet and I finally got my way. I was so excited about being apart of something, as I am not good at sports, so athletics was out for me.

To begin with, band was very hard for me because we had to play alone sometimes. I would cry and eventually I was sent to the principal because of it. When I realized I had the ability to play the clarinet I became more sure of myself. I was asked by my teacher to compete in solo competition. I was the only sixth grade student to compete and I received a top rating, a number one. After this, I was unstoppable! As that year went on, I was crying less and was so much happier. Seventh grade rolled around and I began taking private clarinet lessons because I was going to try out for the All-Region Band. This was really big stuff, in fact, it was phenomenal! I made second band fifth chair and was the only seventh grader from Lakeside to make the All Region Band. That year I also won the woodwind of the year award. You cannot imagine what this did for my confidence and morale.

After these accomplishments I was doing a lot better in class, as well as out of class. Eighth grade went just as well. I wasn’t crying in class and my friendships were better. This year I made first band, fourth chair. At the end of my eighth grade year I was the star! I received the director’s pick award and Nana and Grumps ate a lot of words!!!

Freshman year came around. My goal was first band, first chair. All too soon it was that time again. Try-outs! I thought I played well in the try-out rooms, but waiting for the results was excruciating. I literally shook! When I went to the band room and saw that I made my goal, I was thrilled and overwhelmed. (Actually, I was bouncing off the walls!) Being first chair at All-Region was so rewarding. All my hard work had paid off. This year was also my first year in the marching band, and to my great delight I received the freshman of the year award.

My music career continued to move forward. I made the All Region Band for high school, first band, seventh chair. I also got to try out for the All-State band. Try-outs for this were really terrifying. I was second to last to try-out, which didn’t help at all. When I finally got in the try-out room, I melted down and couldn’t play anything. That’s what it felt like at least! I didn’t make the All-State band, which was very saddening, but because of it, I was determined do much better next year. This experience did not destroy my confidence. I realized it was just a blip on the computer screen of life and that I would still go on to bigger and better things. The year was not a total failure, I had made All Region Band and, thrill of thrills, I won the sophomore of the year award. It was so cool because my boyfriend came to the award ceremony.

I am now going in to my sixth year of playing clarinet. I have realized that for me, starting music changed my life in so many ways. It helped me grow and become more confident. Shakespeare said,”If music be the food of love, play on.” For me, music saved my life, so I will gladly play on.